The quarterly publication, Watching and Waiting, put out by Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony, primarily focuses on the end times. Sometimes there are other points of focus. For instance, in this past issue, there was an article titled Prayer and Revival by Edwin Colley. However, this seems to go in tandem to his other article which does focus on the end times. With all of the speculation about whether God’s Spirit will cause a massive revival just before Christ’s second coming, it was refreshing to read a point of view that came straight from the scriptures.
Colley’s other article is titled Will There Be an End-Time Revival? His opening comments point out that revivals may occur at any time and the end time is no exception. Revival is the work of the Holy Spirit and we cannot be dogmatic in insisting that God will not grant revival between now and His return. His simple answer to the question is “it may be”.
Then he examines two passages which have been used to suggest that there will be an end times revival. Revelation 14:6-7 describes a vision that John has of an angel flying in the midst of heaven having the everlasting gospel to preach unto the nations. Joel 2:28-32 describes a pouring out of the Holy Spirit in conjunction with heavenly signs which portend the coming of the LORD. Colley points out that using these to support the idea of an end time revival presupposes certain some things. Firstly, in order for Revelation 14:6-7 to be used as support, the proclamation of the gospel must result in its acceptance by those who hear it (which the passage does not say that). To use the Joel passage one must assume that the passage applies universally. He will come back to this later.
His next two sections outline what the scriptures say on the state of mankind upon the Lord’s return. He cites II Timothy 3:1-5 to show that rather than mankind becoming more holy, there will be a downgrade in behaviour. Then there will be a worldwide falling away. He sets forth passages from Daniel, II Thessalonians, and Revelation to show that mankind is on its way toward a world wide system of worship which will be antichrist, an antichrist person and an antichristian system.
Now he gets specific. Will There Be a Revival Precisely When the Lord Returns? His answer is a resounding “yes”, but he defines who is revived and when. Colley points out that scripture shows that it is the nation of Israel that is revived. Romans 11:15, Isaiah 66:8, Zechariah 12:10, and Zechariah 8:23 are all examined to show that the focal point of revival is the nation of Israel. So Joel 2:28-32 should be read in the context of how it was fulfilled in the New Testament, upon believing Israelites. He concludes by commenting that while revival is to be hoped and prayed for, we must remember that the great expectation for the saints is the personal return of the LORD Jesus Christ in glory. Pray for revival, but watch and wait for the Son of God.
I want to add one thing to this excellent little article. It seems in the book of Acts that the way of salvation being opened up to the Gentiles caught many Israelite believers by surprise. They had missed the scriptures which included the Gentiles in God’s plan of salvation. We too must not miss the fact that God’s plan for the future includes the nations of the world, not just the nation of Israel. Romans 11:15 shows that while ethnic Israel will turn back to the LORD, Israel’s decision also results in so much more for the Gentiles. The subsequent passage then describes how the entire olive tree is holy, even branches that were grafted in later. The point is that while national Israel is the focal point of “all Israel will be delivered”, Israel was meant to be a blessing to the Gentile nations. So while Joel 2:28-32 initially was fulfilled amongst believing Israelites, Gentiles were later included. Let’s not miss the fact that the coming Millennial kingdom will result in the salvation of Israel and result in blessing for the Gentile nations as well.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman